Friday, April 17, 2015

Classmill - Create Online Courses

Classmill is a new service for creating self-paced online courses. David Kapuler wrote a short blurb about Classmill earlier this week and I finally got around to trying it out this morning.

On Classmill you can create public or private (invitation-only) courses. Courses are built as a series of modules. In each module you can include videos, text, images, links, and file attachments. You can also embed games and interactive simulations into each module. A discussion forum is automatically added to each module in your course. If you make your course private you will have to email invitations to your students.

Applications for Education
Classmill could be a good platform through which you build self-paced professional development courses. It could also be a good platform for building summer enrichment courses for middle school and high school students.

Spring & Summer PD Opportunities With Me

Spring is here and before too long we'll be breaking out our flip-flops and shorts for summer. If part of your summer plan calls for professional development, I have some opportunities for you.

On July 13th and 14th I am hosting the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp in Portland, Maine. This event is a hands-on exploration of how to use free technology tools in your classroom. This two day workshop is based on my framework for using technology to help students discover new information, discuss their ideas, and demonstrate their knowledge. Only eight seats are left. Click here to learn more.

This spring and summer I'm hosting three sections of my popular online course Getting Going With GAFE (Google Apps for Edu). Each course meets live online once per week for five weeks. Three graduate credits are available for completing the course. The next section starts on April 28th. The first summer section begins on June 2nd and the second summer section begins on July 2nd. Click here to learn more about these courses.

On July 6th I'll be starting the summer section of my online course Blogs & Social Media for Teachers & School Leaders. Three graduate credits are available for this course. Click here for more information.

If you would like your entire department or school to participate in an online professional development activity, I am happy to work with you to create a custom webinar series for you. I host all trainings through GoToTraining which provides HD broadcasting and recording of all sessions.

Of course, I love to visit schools in person. Send me an email (richardbyrne at or click here to learn more about in-person presentations.

How to Download KML Data from Google Maps

Last summer Google transitioned maps made with Classic Google Maps and Google Maps Engine Lite to their new My Maps platform. This morning I received an email from the Google Maps team announcing that you need to export the KML files of your original maps or lose them on June 1st when all maps will be forced into the new My Maps formatting. If you're happy with the way that the new version of your maps looks, there is nothing that you need to do. If you want to store the original KML file then you will need to export that file. I created the video embedded below to demonstrate how to export KML files from Google Maps.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Do Airplanes Fly? - And Five Ways to Flip This Video

Last month I had the privilege to fly on an A380. The A380 is the largest commercial jet in the world. As I saw the plane towering over the jetway in Dallas I couldn't help but be amazed at the engineering that makes it possible for something so large to fly across the Pacific in one shot.  The explanation can be found in a Minute Physics video that Airbus recently sponsored. How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.

This video could be the basis of a flipped science lesson. In this post I provided an overview of how to use five services to create flipped video lessons.

How to Create Bookshelves in Google Books

This afternoon I received an email from a reader who had seen my video about conducting research in Google Books and now wanted to build Google Books bookshelves of his own. To demonstrate that process I created the short video that you see embedded below.

Applications for Education
Creating bookshelves in Google Books is a great way to organize a selection of books around a topic that your students are studying. Think of creating Google Books bookshelves as a way of building reading lists for students.

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